Two tops for 2015 NCHA Super Stakes

April 19th, 2015

Smooth Talkin Style, reserve champion of the 2014 NCHA Open Futurity under Lloyd Cox, and Dont Stopp Believin with Phil Rapp, each scored 223 points on Saturday to reign as co-champions of the 2015 Open Super Stakes. Adelle and Lindy Burch claimed the second-highest mark with 221.5 points.

Smooth Talkin Style

Lloyd Cox, co-champion on Smooth Talkin Style. Alan Gold photos.

“I’m really comfortable on him and he gives me a reason to be comfortable,” said Cox of Smooth Talkin Style, sired by Smooth As A Cat, bred by Gail Holmes, and owned by Holmes and Dottie Hill. “He reads the situation really good, and on top of that he has ability.”

This was the first Super Stakes win for Cox, 50,  the Super Stakes reserve champion in 2003, on TR Dual Rey, and in 1996, on High Brows Nurse, and an NCHA Riders Hall of Fame member with earnings of $6.9 million.

Dont Stopp Believin, by Dual Rey, gave NCHA Hall of Fame rider Phil Rapp, lifetime earner of $8.4 million, a record third Super Stakes win. Rapp’s first was in 1994, aboard Dont Stopp Believin’s maternal great-granddam Tap O Lena. His second was in 2006, on Dual Smart Rey.

Dont Stopp Believin

Phil Rapp, co-champion on Dont Stopp Believin.

“In 1984, my dad bought Tapeppyoaka Peppy for me,” said Rapp. “She was four and I was 14 and everyone asked why he hadn’t bought me an older horse. He said he wanted me to have a good horse and we could learn together.

“It took a few years, but it has been quite an adventure, and for five generations, we’ve always had a pretty good horse.”

Tapeppyoaka Peppy was the dam of Tap O Lena, NCHA earner of $450,639 and 17 championship wins under Rapp,  in open and non-pro competition.

Bred by Waco Bend Ranch and owned by Phil and Mary Ann Rapp, Dont Stopp Believin is out of Don’t Look Twice, 2011 NCHA Horse of the Year, 2012 NCHA World Champion, and cutting’s all-time female money earner with $804,954 and 26 championship wins.

Smooth Talkin Style and Don’t Stopp Believin each earned an estimated $56,853, as co champions.

Cade Shepard, 13, becomes NCHA’s youngest Non-Pro Triple Crown event champion

Cade Shepard

Non-Pro Champion Cade Shepard on Twistful Thinking

Cade Shepard, 13, struck fear in the hearts of more than a few non-pro competitors on Saturday, with an eleventh-hour, 217.5-point win in the 23-horse NCHA Super Stakes Non-Pro Finals.

With his win on Twistful Thinking, Cade became the youngest rider in history to win an NCHA Non-Pro Triple Crown event. The previous record was held by Kelle Earnheart, winner at 15, of the 2000 NCHA Non-Pro Derby on Justa Swinging Jane.

Ashley Galyean earned the reserve championship on Saturday with 216.5 points on Pedaltothemedal, by Metallic Cat.

Since his NCHA Futurity debut, as co-reserve champion of the 2014 Non-Pro Limited, Cade and his One Time Pepto daughter have earned $45,724, including $16,923 for the Super Stakes win. The precocious pair also claimed reserve in the Ike Hamilton Non-Pro Futurity, as well as that event’s Non-Pro Limited championship.

“It’s definitely the most money I’ve won in one year,” said Cade, son of Austin Shepard, an NCHA Hall of Fame Rider with NCHA earnings of $5.9 million, and grandson of Sam Shepard, also a member of the NCHA Riders Hall of Fame.

Sam Shepard trained Twistful Thinking for the NCHA Futurity, where he sold her to Cade, who at nine had shown the mare’s dam, Some Kinda Twister, to place as a Junior Youth Finalist in the NCHA Eastern National Championships.

“I I think I am getting a little bit better,” said Cade of his riding skills. “But I’m going to say the horse is getting better and probably helping me get better.”